AT&T claims that broadband competition the United States “has gone into overdrive.”
“Mobile providers are competing fiercely on price, offering a wide variety of new data plans and promotions, such as shared data plans, equipment installment plans and offers aimed at providing incentives for customers to switch carriers. Indeed, hardly a week goes by without a provider responding to the latest offers in the marketplace with new and better service plan options, lower prices and special promotions.” – AT&T Filing, FierceWireless
Except, there isn’t a single study done that proves of this broadband utopia. In fact, everything points to the exact opposite. As others are pointing out, pick any study you want (Akamai, the FCC, the OECD or OOkla) and it shows that the United States is “indisputably mediocre when it comes to broadband, whether that’s penetration, speed, coverage or price.”
As the Center for Public Integrity notes, the summarization of the U.S. broadband system is rather sad:
- 25% of Americans don’t access internet from their home.
- U.S. broadband users pay, on average, three times more than their European counterparts.
- U.S. broadband users have the ninth most expensive broadband service among the 34 ranked OECD countries.
- Most major U.S. cities are carved up so that telecom companies avoid competing against each other.
- Outside of major populated areas, the high majority of U.S. cities offer just one high-speed broadband provider. In fact, 55 percent of U.S. households have just one provider that offers service at 25 megabits per second, the minimum the Federal Communications Commission says is necessary to access the most advanced online applications.
Then there is this example:
If you live in Columbus, Ohio, and you want fast Internet service, you have two choices: Time Warner Cable’s $70-per-month plan or AT&T’s $61-per-month package, after any discount expires. If you live in Nice, France, it’s a different story. You can choose service from six Internet providers, and you’ll pay between $19 and $40 a month for a comparable, or even faster, service. – Center for Public Integrity
Should we expect anything different when we are a country that allows U.S. broadband providers to tell us their “advertised” speed rather than the actual speed that we are getting when we pay them?
Let’s see how the broadband providers responded to these stats:
- Verizon ignored the study and continued claiming that their prices are “very competitive” and offer “great value.”
- AT&T official didn’t answer a question asking why their prices were higher but wanted to “broaden the perspective” of the person asking about the prices.
- CenturyLink blamed population densities.
- Time Warner Cable blamed consumer behaviors in the U.S.
- Cox Communications and Frontier Communications did not respond to questions.